Nebraska GOP welcomes new Chairman Eric Underwood after state convention

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The past weekend brought many changes for the Nebraska Republican Party at the state convention, including the replacement of Chairman Dan Welch, Executive Director Taylor Gage and six others.

Chairman Eric Underwood of Lincoln spoke Thursday about the culture he thinks is needed to move forward. He says he wants to give a voice to people who didn’t have one before.

“If you develop a culture, built on the foundation of our values, it starts to resonate with people,” Underwood said. “Then they start to become more engaged. It is not the fault of Lancaster County or Lincoln voters that they haven’t been engaged. I’ve said this from the beginning. It was the Republican Party’s fault for not engaging them.”

Some Republicans’ feelings of exclusions hit a peak at the state convention in Kearney on Saturday, when they were told they were no longer welcome. After a vote, they were eventually allowed in.

Republicans then pushed for change.

“There was a sentiment out there, and it’s long-standing by many Nebraskans,” said interim state GOP Communications Director Jack Riggins. “It’s not pointed to one specific event, or people, and I think that’s a mischaracterization that’s been out there. But in fact, it was a long time coming. As many, many Nebraskans talked about it, and you have an upswell of support, people begin to mobilize.”

The party said what happened over the weekend was not a movement, but a shifted focus on performance over personalities in future county, state and national elections.

Thursday’s conference was just the beginning.

Underwood will take the next several weeks to build business operations and form the rest of the executive and central committees that will govern the party.

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